Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kashrut color war

For those not acquainted with the concept of a "color war," see here.

My mother, bless her, did it backwards—she waited 'til all of us kids had grown and flown, and then she went kosher! I wasn't surprised that she'd decided to go kosher at home, but I was shocked that she decided to go kosher "out," as well—I couldn't believe that she'd actually given up eating lobster, her favorite food, a major sacrifice for the Jewish cause. At this point, she hasn't eaten lobster or non-kosher meat in about 30 years. But since she’d waited until after the kids were out of the barn, I wasn’t terribly well acquainted with the habit of keeping a kitchen kosher.

So, many moons ago, when our son was born, I insisted that we go kosher the rest of the way, so to speak—that is, with separate dishes, pots, etc. I figured that it would be easier for our son to keep kosher as an adult, should he choose to do so (we hope), if he'd been raised with a kosher kitchen.

Here’s where the fun starts: I chose a patriotic-American color code for our newly-kashered kitchen: red for meat/fleishig/b’sari, white for milk/dairy/chalavi, and blue for pareve (or parve—pick your spelling)/b’li chalav o basar /containing neither dairy nor meat. Now, some twenty years later, along comes a company from New Jersey* and starts producing and/or packaging whole sets of color-coded kitchen utensils, sponges, etc. Unfortunately for us, their color code is red, blue for dairy, and green for parve! So I'm having fun trying to keep even just plain kosher, much less kosher for Passover, getting thoroughly confused by a blue parve towel, from the old days, combined with green parve sponges, potholders, even a green-handled knife. Eek! This is going to take some getting used to. And if you think we have it bad, what’s going to happen the next time our son comes for a visit?! Double eek!

*Update--here's the info:

Mark-It International Inc.
P.O. Box 114
Deal, NJ 07723

Phone: 732-728-0050

(No URL on package.

For those not aware of this, Deal, New Jersey has a significant Syrian Jewish population.)


Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

in college, when i started having my own kitchen, i couldn't find enough stuff to fit a single color-coding system... so i ended up with red/black for meat, white/yellow for dairy, and blue/green for parva. except for one white-with-a-blue-rim bowl, which was dairy.

Thu Apr 24, 11:23:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Steg, I've found that the plates and pots aren't so much of a problem--I just memorize which set of plates is for which, and I color-code the pots with colored tape. (I've even been known to color-code the pots with dots of nail-polish!) In fact, that same company--wish I could remember the name--also sells marking labels. The real problem I have is with the other stuff--small-handled utensils, towels, potholders, trivets, etc., that can't be marked. And, of course, there's the occasional tableware mix-up.

My husband, on the other hand, still mixes up the pots, even though they've been hanging from the same labeled wall racks for 25 years. We boil the pots, not to mention the tableware, rather frequently in the Salamone-Punster Palace kitchen.

Thu Apr 24, 12:31:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Don't worry, Steg--If we ever get the place clean enough to actually have guests (!) and do a return blogger bash, we'll serve kosher take-out and/or packaged goods on paper plates with plastic tableware. We do make a good-faith effort to maintain a kosher kitchen, and believe it's important to do so. But heck, even *I* don't trust my kitchen's kashrut, so I'm certainly not going to expect any Orthodox Jew to do so.

Thu Apr 24, 02:21:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I just updated the post with that kashrut-marker company's information.

Fri Apr 25, 12:40:00 AM 2008  

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